The Cryptid Zoo: Sumatran Lion

The island of Sumatra is supposed to be home to a mid-sized cat called the cigau by locals. It is reported most frequently from the areas near Bangko and Mount Kerinci. This feline is somewhat smaller than a tiger. It is golden in color with no stripes or spots, and it has a ruff of long fur on its neck. It has a rather short tail for its body length. Since its description sounds like a subspecies of the (nearly extinct) Asian lion, this just might be what this cat is.

It should be remembered that islands often hold remnant populations of animals long after they become extinct on the mainland, and the Indonesian region of southeastern Asia is a place where many new animals are being discovered all the time, sometimes even large mammals. Also, Sumatra is not too far from Singapore, an island nation that got its name from the fact that lions lived there when the principal city was founded.

The other main possibility for what this animal could be is some sort of look-alike to the lion. It could, for example, be a tan-colored, maned mutant leopard or an entirely new species of big cat that happens to look similar to the lion, just as the first Europeans in North America thought that cougars were really lions.

Some reports of the cigau sound more like folklore and less like encounters with a real flesh-and-blood feline. These folklorish accounts describe the cigau as a manimal, combining the characteristics of a lion or tiger with some humanoid anatomical features, resulting in a cat-ape creature that counts as a feline biped. The cigau, like many mythical monsters, is a reputed man-eater with an insatiable appetite for human flesh.

You can find out more about the Sumatran Lion from the following sources:

Moggycat. Anomalous Felids

Newton, Michael. Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology: A Global Guide to Hidden Animals and Their Pursuers. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2005. Page 106
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Shuker, Karl. The Beasts That Hide From Man: Seeking the World's Last Undiscovered Animals. New York: Paraview Press, 2003. Page 266

Wikipedia, The. Asiatic Lion

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